Clay Buchholz is ready for his season to finally begin.
The righthander was slotted into the fifth spot of the Red Sox rotation for reasons that had nothing to do with talent. The team simply wanted to give him more time to get ready.
Buchholz spent three months on the disabled list with a sore shoulder last season and was limited physically when he came back in September. He made four starts in the postseason but threw only 20⅔ innings.
That led to the Sox putting together a plan to limit Buchholz’s throwing during the winter before building him back up slowly in spring training.
Manager John Farrell believes it worked.
“The thing that stood out from the time he walked on the mound was he pitched a lot more comfortable,” Farrell said Friday. “By comfortable I mean he stayed in his delivery well; he didn’t try to overdo things, didn’t try to manufacture velocity when that might have been a question coming off the end of last year.”
Now Buchholz is ready to go and will face Wily Peralta and the Brewers on Saturday night.
Buchholz made five starts in spring training, throwing 19 innings and allowing only six earned runs while striking 13. He finished his work with a minor league intrasquad game last Sunday, staying behind to pitch while his teammates went to Baltimore.
“We checked off every box we hoped to get accomplished in camp,” Farrell said.
Jon Lester, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, and Jake Peavy have started games while Buchholz waited.
“Been dying to get out there,” Buchholz said. “But I understand it and I feel good. It’s time to pitch.”
The Red Sox’ World Series rings were made by Jostens of 14-karat white gold with 126 diamonds, 16 sapphires, and 9 rubies on top.
The left side of the ring has the “B Strong” logo and the right side has each individual’s name and number. It was customized to show the number of World Series championships the person has won with the Red Sox.
The inside of the ring has a bearded brothers logo and 10-30-13, the date the Sox won the Series.
David Ortiz was given a second ring for being named the MVP of the World Series.
The 14-carat white gold ring has nine rubies depicting the Red Sox logo on a diamond surface.
The right side of the ring depicts the Red Sox “B” logo with the words “3x World Champion ’04 ’07 ’13” above it and the No. 34 below. The left side of the ring includes an image of Ortiz with his name across the top and “2013” below.
Ortiz’s statistics for the Series are inside of the ring.
Victorino makes appearance
Shane Victorino, who is on the disabled with a strained right hamstring and has a bad case of the flu, was questionable for the pregame ceremony when Farrell spoke to the media in the morning.
But Victorino got out of bed and made his way to Fenway and received his ring to the sound of “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley and the Wailers.
After getting a big ovation from the fans, Victorino bumped teammates with his elbow rather than shake hands because he’s contagious. He then returned to his apartment.
The Red Sox had a fairly set outfield last season. Jacoby Ellsbury played center, Victorino was in right, and Daniel Nava platooned with Jonny Gomes in left.
Now it’s a bit of a jumble with Victorino on the disabled list and Grady Sizemore restricted physically. The Sox have started five players in three combinations in three games.
Farrell said it’s not too complicated.
“More than anything, we’ve got a number of quality players we can pick from,” he said. “Given the constraints we’re dealing with with Grady and number of games per week that we set out to play [him], we’ve got very good depth to go to.”
Farrell said making a lineup is somewhat easier because Nava can play both corners.
“I think it’s kind of exciting to be able to rotate a number of good players through the lineup,” he said.
Farrell suggested Sizemore would start again on Saturday but probably not on Sunday. Sizemore was 1 for 2 with two walks Friday.
Breslow throws again
Lefty reliever Craig Breslow threw a shutout inning for Triple A Pawtucket Friday night, allowing one hit and striking out one against Lehigh Valley.
It was the second of back-to-back appearances, and Breslow hopes to be activated off the disabled list soon. He has been out with a shoulder strain. “Everything is fine physically now,” he said.
Breslow attended the ring ceremony at Fenway.
Peavy, an Alabama native, warmed up last season to “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
But he replaced that on Friday with “Badlands” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band out of respect for new Yankees closer David Robertson.
Robertson also favors “Sweet Home Alabama” because he’s from Alabama, too, and Peavy decided to let him have it.
“Songs are a bigger deal for closers and now that he’s closing, I made a switch,” Peavy said. “I don’t know David that well but everybody says he’s a good guy and we’re in the same division.”
Plus, Peavy said, he’s a big fan of Springsteen.
“I’ll get fired up by ‘Badlands,’ too,” he said.
Dempster checks in
Ryan Dempster walked away from the Red Sox and a guaranteed $13.25 million before the season started, and skipped this week’s trip to the White House that honored the World Series champions.
But he wasn’t about to miss Friday’s home opener. There was a big, diamond-encrusted ring just his size that needed to be picked up.
“It’s going to be a special moment,” said Dempster a few hours before the game. “It’s something you play your whole career for, and some guys in here are lucky enough to already have some [rings], but it’s going to be the first time for me, so I’m really excited.
“It’s just fun to be back around the guys for a little bit.”
Home on the range
The Sox players on last season’s team received fitted cowboy hats, a gift from Lackey. The Stetson hats had a 2013 World Series logo inside. Koji Uehara seemed quite amused. Mike Napoli tried his on and approved . . . There are assorted cosmetic improvements at Fenway Park, including new carpet in the home clubhouse to replace the one soaked with champagne. The Red Sox even found a sponsor for the home clubhouse as Brookstone logos were plastered over every locker. Brookstone filed for bankruptcy Thursday . . . Burke Badenhop pitched two scoreless innings against his former team in his Red Sox debut . . . When the Milwaukee reserves were introduced as a group before the game, Peralta tripped and fell face-first on the grass before continuing to the third base line . . . Personnel from Engine 33 and Ladder 15 were involved in the pregame ceremony as part of a tribute to Lt. Edward J. Walsh Jr. and firefighter Michael R. Kennedy. They returned in the fifth inning and were introduced to the crowd again from atop the dugouts. The Boston Fire Department’s a cappella group sang “God Bless America” in the seventh inning . . . Patriots quarterback Tom Brady attended the game but was not part of the pregame ceremony that included former teammates Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, and Ty Law . . . The Red Sox fell to 68-46 in home openers. They have won 17 of the last 22.Michael Whitmer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.